The McFaddin-Ward House

Views: 711
Ratings: (0)

The McFaddin-Ward House, home to the prominent McFaddin family, was built in 1906 in the prestigious neighborhood around Calder Avenue. This entertaining volume tells the story of this house and the people who lived in it, bringing out the personalities of the principal inhabitants-W. P. H. McFaddin, his second wife Ida, their daughter Mamie, and Mamie's husband Carroll Ward.

List price: $9.95

Your Price: $7.96

You Save: 20%

 

5 Slices

Format Buy Remix

1. The McFaddin Family

ePub

1.

THE MCFADDIN FAMILY

IN 1821, THE YEAR THAT MEXICO won its independence from Spain, the Mexican government authorized colonization in Mexican Texas, and later that year Missourian Stephen F. Austin, in the role of empresario, brought in the first Anglo settlers. As a precaution, however, the government discouraged settlement in southeast Texas between the Sabine River (then the border between Mexico and the United States) and the Trinity River. Empresarios took their colonists past this area to land grants in the interior of the state. In this way, a sort of buffer zone was unofficially created between Mexico and the United States.

Following Austin’s Old Three Hundred, as the original colonists were called, other Anglo-American settlers flocked to the rich new land to seek their fortunes. Many came to Texas along the Atascosito, or Opelousas, Trail, which followed the high ground from southwestern Louisiana into the interior. As the early colonists passed through the buffer zone, the vast forests and lush coastal prairies no doubt tempted them to stay. Most of them, however, preferring an empresario’s leadership, pressed on until they reached the designated area. Only a few bolder ones chose to trust their own luck and settled in the unauthorized territory.1

 

2. The House

ePub

2.

THE HOUSE

THE FRAME HOUSE in which W. P. H. and Ida McFaddin lived right after their marriage in 1894 was located on Liberty Avenue, in the Calder Avenue neighborhood. WPH had probably been living in this house with the three children from his previous marriage. Ida’s arrival, however, brought many changes to the family’s life-style, one of which was the house in which they lived.

A modest, one-story frame house could hardly have seemed suitable to a young woman from a wealthy West Virginia family who was accustomed to fine surroundings. Moving to a relatively small Texas town required adjustment enough, and Ida, independent and intelligent, was not about to remain a passive observer. Instead, she set about creating an atmosphere in which she could be happy and comfortable. It was undoubtedly her presence and influence that brought about the construction of the family’s next house.

This house, built in 1896, was, like the widely known W. H. Stark house built in 1894 in nearby Orange, typical of late Victorian architecture. A Queen Anne style house, designed by D. P. Kaufman & Company Architects, it blended well with the other fashionable houses on Calder Avenue. The McFaddins hired local contractor P. J. Connolly to build the house at a cost of $5,265.1 Upon its completion, a Beaumont newspaper reported that the new house was “complete in the minutest appointment” and complimented Ida on her decorating acumen.2 Inside and out, the house was architecturally in step with its time. And its Victorian conglomeration of furnishings, as illustrated in contemporary interior photographs, was evidence of the family’s mainstream decorating tastes.

 

3. Life-Styles and Community

ePub

3.

LIFE-STYLES AND COMMUNITY

WHEN W. P. H. AND IDA MCFADDIN moved into their new home, Beaumonters were still enjoying the prosperity that had begun in the days of the lumber boom. Beaumont boasted a strong, diverse economy, based on lumber, cattle, rice, and petroleum. Even the gradual diminution of the Spindletop oil field held no fears, for the construction of the Magnolia refinery and other oil-related industries had ensured the city’s future as a petroleum processing center.

The railroads, which had supplanted the riverboats in transporting goods to and from the East Texas interior, made up a vast network connecting Beaumont with the rest of the country. In 1908 Beaumonters realized their long-held dream of a deepwater port for their city when a channel was dug in the Neches River, joining Beaumont with the Port Arthur ship channel. The city thus became a major shipping center.

Spindletop had generated a construction boom, bringing the downtown area a number of modern buildings, such as a new post office, fire station, and Baptist church, and several significant modern improvements, such as natural gas lines and an artesian water supply.1 New homes went up all over town, and soon the Averill Addition was a pleasant neighborhood containing a number of large, expensive homes.

 

4. Interiors and Collections

ePub

4.

INTERIORS AND COLLECTIONS

MAMIE AND HER FAMILY left for the museum a lifetime’s accumulation of items, some purchased, some not. She and her mother enjoyed shopping and bought what they liked and wanted, not limiting themselves to need. Many of their possessions were, of course, gifts or inheritances. And fortunately, they disposed of little. The result is a diverse collection of goods that offers more than just a clue to the McFaddins’ and Wards’ lives and life-styles at 1906 McFaddin Avenue. It is a well-rounded historical collection containing many examples of contemporary decorative arts, hundreds of mundane and personal items, and plenty of photographs, invoices, diaries, and letters, which richly describe the private lives of the inhabitants of the house.

Various forms, materials, and eras are represented among the approximately 30,000 objects (excluding the thousands of paper documents) in the collection, which spans a date range of more than 150 years.1 While the collection contains decorative arts representing nineteenth- and twentieth-century styles of silver, furniture, glassware, ceramics, and textiles, it also includes many personal and functional items, such as handkerchiefs and hair pieces, mouse traps and medals, pots and pans. Hundreds of books in the collection reveal not only the family’s literary interests but also the importance of books as symbols of a cultured home. Large portraits of family members hang throughout the house and, along with the more than one hundred Oriental rugs, contribute to the decorative nature of the home today as they did during its use as a family dwelling.

 

5. Restoration

ePub

5.

RESTORATION

BEFORE SHE DIED, Mamie McFaddin Ward wanted to make certain that her family home and possessions would be preserved and enjoyed by future generations. She had loved her home and spent her adult life caring for it. In her later years, however, she began to be concerned about what would become of it after she was gone. She had seen the fates of the other grand homes in Beaumont. Many of them slowly deteriorated and were eventually torn down; others were converted into apartments and businesses. Mamie could not bear the thought of her home suffering from either alteration or neglect; she would have it demolished first.

At the same time she realized that, aside from its sentimental value to her, the house had historical significance. It was the final survivor of a number of similarly styled mansions that had been built in Beaumont after the 1901 Spindletop oil boom, and her dedicated care of it had assured a high state of preservation. It was, after all, already listed on the National Register of Historic Places (1971) and designated a Registered Texas Historical Landmark (1976). Hence, Mamie McFaddin Ward decided that her home would be well suited to become a museum.

 

Details

Print Book
E-Books
Slices

Format name
ePub (DRM)
Encrypted
true
Sku
9781625110077
Isbn
9781625110077
File size
0 Bytes
Printing
Disabled
Copying
Disabled
Read aloud
No
Format name
ePub
Encrypted
No
Printing
Allowed
Copying
Allowed
Read aloud
Allowed
Sku
In metadata
Isbn
In metadata
File size
In metadata